First, I purchased a tri-fold display board, available in several sizes at Walmart and other stores (just like the ones you may have used for science fair projects during your own school days).
Next, I determined how many "rows" I needed to plan for, and divided the board accordingly. Since I wanted to include only events from American history, I started with A.D. 1000 and ended with A.D. 2000. For the sake of clarity, I designed each row to represent 100 years EXCEPT for the first row, which covers the period from 1000 to 1600--those early years have only a few significant events to record.
Then, using a fine-point permanent marker, I made the lines and marked them in 10-year increments. Finally, I covered the board with clear contact paper for durability.
This timeline stands alone or lies flat during use, then simply folds up and stores away out of sight. It's a terrific and inexpensive addition to our American history program!